Anonymous Coffee Co., which is located inside the Tasting House on Chain Street, in the heart of Reading, is the latest venture of old friend of the Coffee Spot, Phil Carter. Technically, Anonymous extends no further than the neat wooden counter just inside the door, but in reality you’re free to roam anywhere over the Tasting House’s two floors, including the large upstairs seating area. The Tasting House, by the way, is a wine merchant/wine bar with a range of wines on (self-service) tap, so you can try multiple wines in one sitting if you want.
Returning to Anonymous, there are two options on espresso (“comfort” and “adventure”) with two more on pour-over through the V60. One espresso and one filter come from Union Hand-roasted, with the others coming from a regularly-changing guest roaster (during my visit, it was Walthamstow’s finest, Wood St Coffee). If you’re hungry, there’s a small range of cakes available from Anonymous, or you can have something from the Tasting House kitchen, which offers toasties, charcuterie, crostini and various bar snacks.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Chain Street is a narrow, pedestrianised thoroughfare connecting Reading Minster and the Oracle shopping centre in the south with Broad Street to the north. You’ll find the Tasting House on the eastern side, with Anonymous Coffee Co. tucked just inside the door on the left, clearly visible through the window. The narrow, all-glass façade has the door inset on the right, which brings you in right next to Anonymous’ neat, wooden counter, covered, for the moment, with the usual Perspex screens.
The espresso machine sits in the window, the cakes to its left, placing them right in front of you as you stand at the till, the simple menu on the wall behind the counter. Unusually, there’s a second till at the end of the counter, which is used by the Tasting House, so make sure you get the right one. Once you’ve ordered and made your choice of beans, take a seat and your coffee will be brought to you.
There’s a limited amount of seating downstairs, starting with a tall, round, cocktail table with a pair of stools in the window. This is followed by two small, round, two-person tables opposite the counter, all separated by tall, pop-up plastic screens. A long bar runs down the right-hand wall, but its currently not in use due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Beyond this, you’re into the Tasting House proper, with the left-hand wall given over to shelves of wine, followed by the self-service taps. Opposite this is a large, six-person communal table, which has been split into two with the addition of another of the pop-up plastic screens. At the back, in the right-hand corner, is an open kitchen, while on the left, stairs lead to the large first-floor seating area.
Upstairs is L-shaped, the bottom of the L running along the front, which, like downstairs, is wall-to-wall windows. Looking from the top of the stairs, which is at the top of the L, there are two more of the six-person communal tables on the right, with a solitary two-person table on the left. Two more two-person tables occupy the windows at the front, while around the corner on the left is a third six-person communal table (all of which have table-top pop-up dividers).
Any chance I had of sneaking into Anonymous vanished as I stepped inside, Phil recognising me instantly, despite my Cherie Did This rainbow mask. We chatted over a couple of coffees, one espresso and one pour-over. For my espresso, I had the “adventure”, the La Piramide, a well-rounded washed Colombian from Wood St Coffee, which had a touch of acidity at the end. My pour-over was also from Wood St, a well-rounded, naturally-process El Salvadorian. Phil promised me fruity notes which came through as it cooled, and it was just as good cold. And with that, sadly, I had to be off.
As a postscript, Phil gave me a cruffin (a cross between a croissant and a muffin) to take home with me, which was absolutely delicious, one of the best I’ve ever had.
December 2020: Anonymous Coffee Co. was a runner-up for the 2020 Most Passionate About Coffee Award.
|30A CHAIN STREET • READING • RG1 2HX|
|www.anonymouscoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 7825 838380|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Union + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 16:00||Food||Cakes, Toasties, Charcuterie, Bar Snacks|
|Thursday||10:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 16:00||Payment||Cards Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||11:00 – 16:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||9th October 2020|
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